Rossini: Otello - Lazzari, Zeani, Baratti, Handt, Reynolds; Previtali. Roma, 1960


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  • Rossini famously retired from writing operas at the height of his fame. Although the reasons have always been murky, he sighted the fact that he felt a bit alienated from the direction music was taking towards Romanticism. Listening to his early works, this makes a lot of sense as the style does seem to lean towards to Mozart rather than Donizetti. Otello retains that classical feel, but it does embrace an intensification of emotion that points, if not to Verdi, towards composers like Cherubini. The best musical example is how he employs the tradition of "temporale" during the scene in which Otello kills Desdemona - an 18th century convention, reconfigured for a contemporary audience. Whether he realized it or not, Rossini was paving the way of opera's evolution over the course of the 19th century, all while preserving the traditions of those who came before him.
  • Agostino Lazzari brings a nobility to the role of Otello, making the character's ultimate unraveling all the more tragic.
  • Virginia Zeani is stupendous as Desdemona.


  • Even though Otello is the main tenor, it is Rodrigo who gets the show-stopping aria "Che ascolto? ahimè, che dici?" Sadly, Herbert Handt did not stop the show...

In Mono

OD 12034-2